RAJASTHAN STATE TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT
1. The State Board is measuring real time air quality through continuous real time ambient air quality monitoring station at Jaipur and Jodhpur. These stations will also operate in all millennium cities by December, 2016. 2. The mobile application “Rajvayu” enables all citizens to view real time air quality as well as meteorological parameters on their mobile. 3. The mobile application launched by RPCB facilitates industries having continuous monitoring facilities to get real time data of pollutants discharge/emitted from their industries. 4. The state is heading towards Zero liquid discharge status by installing RO plants and recycling treated waste water in all major textile clusters like Jodhpur, Pali, Balotra, Bhilwara and Jaipur. 5. Rationalization and fast disposal of consent/ authorization/ registration. Online submission and tracking of consent application, e-communication through SMS alert and e-mail also in place. Letter issued online with digital signature. 6. Encouraging green category and MSME industries by exempting them from consent mechanism (white category). 7. Procedures in place for better accountability, clarity and transparency in functioning of the State Board. 8. An skill development centre “Centre For Excellence” is being promoted for developing 9. To reduce solid waste State Board is encouraging startups for which a policy is in place.
and 2012 were rain deficient, while Kerala had 24 rain-deficient years in the same period, says the paper.
The decrease in rain has had another major impact. This yewwwar, the average groundwater level in the 11 Western Ghat districts of Karnataka was 11.69 m, the lowest in 10 years. In 2015, water levels in seven of the 13 major reservoirs of the state were at their lowest in 10 years. This year, another five were added to the list.
The reasons behind the steady decline in rainfall and shift in monsoon pattern are debatable, but researchers say that changes in land use have exacerbated their impact. “Loss of tree cover, reduction in area under paddy cultivation and unregulated activities along river banks have reduced water yields,” says C G Kushalappa, a professor at Forestry College, Ponnampet, Karnataka.
The changing monsoon patterns, frequent extreme weather events and rising temperatures are also taking a toll on the biodiversity of the mountain range that harbours over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 of mammals, 508 of birds and 179 species of amphibians. In 2009, the Indian Institute of Science( iisc), Bengaluru, in collaboration with Earthwatch, an international environmental charity, and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, undertook a project to monitor the forests in the Ghats. In Karnataka’s Uttar Kannada district, they monitored 12 one-hectare plots for almost three years. Similar studies were conducted in Shimoga district of Karnataka and Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu.
“We noticed a lot of changes in the forest ecosystem. Intensive human disturbances, apart from natural calamities, had led to erosion of species richness, disruption of the closed canopy and spread of invasive species in a few plots,” says Indu Murthy, professor at iisc, under whom the study was conducted. For instance, in Uttar Kannada, farmers say that Terminalia tomentosa (asana), a vertically fissured grey-black tree whose timber was a good source of income, has disappeared. iisc scientists also observed that canopies had opened up in some of the plots in Sirsi taluk of the district. Although anthropogenic deforestation may be at
play, Murthy says there is a possibility that heavy natural winds during the southwestern monsoon caused the felling of trees. Opening up of the canopy causes a proliferation of species that thrive in light. In some cases, these may compete with, and eventually take over, native species. For instance, in Sirsi, researchers observed spread of the invasive Eupatorium chromolaena ( Madras poo) in some plots.
In the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve located in the Ghats, a project similar to the Uttar Kannada project, carried out under R Sukumar, professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, iisc, shows that the 2001 drought and the 2002 deficit rain made the grasses in the region dry and fireprone. Their regenerative capacity also declined. As a result, invasive Lantana camara ( unni chedi) spread. However minute, such changes in biodiversity are significant. “This is a cause for concern. What we can do is reduce the fragmentation of forests. Greater connectivity will ensure seamless seed dispersal and germination, and may even save species,” says R K Chaturvedi, a researcher at iisc.
According to a 2012 paper published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology, the trend of declining rainfall in the Ghats will continue, with major impacts on the west coast of Kerala and Karnataka. With climate models projecting a drier future for the Ghats, these impacts are only going to become more pronounced and widespread.
“The trend of reduced yield in dams and dry season in rivers will have much wider implications on food security, human-wildlife conflicts and conflicts over water in the entire peninsula,” says Madhusoodhanan. The Western Ghats region is slowly becoming the perfect example of climate change in action, he adds.